Ever since it was announced that Respawn was working on an official Star Wars game, the hype has been building about what exactly it would be. Now that E3 has been and gone, we can more assuredly say we have an answer to that. However, this leads us to another question, how does it play?
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is a single-player, action-adventure set between the third and fourth films (after the Republic was dismantled and as the Empire is starting to take shape). You play as one of the Jedi who survives the events surrounding Order 66, where the clone army exterminated their Jedi commanders. As a young Cal Kestis, you must do whatever it takes to survive, doing your best to evade the Empire and its agents.
So, now we've covered the overarching narrative, it's probably time to dive into the more nitty-gritty parts of the game. Whilst we were at E3, we got some hands-on time with the title, during which we got to play around with the mechanics in a combat training arena. Granted we didn't get to take a look at the full playable demo, but what we did see gave us enough of an insight into how the title's diverse control scheme works.
Unlike the Jedi/Sith gameplay in the rebooted Star Wars Battlefront games, Fallen Order is about strategy and tackling each fight with the utmost concern for your life. You can't just run into combat expecting to steamroll whatever unfortunate enemy walks into your path because that will likely mean death. This is a game about being a Jedi, and that means playing smart, taking calculated actions, and above all else, having the ability to remain calm during stressful situations.
Fallen Order allows players to freely move and jump whenever they'd like, but there are more interesting mechanics built around traversing the world that are a little more unusual. You can evade attacks, for example, by using a combat-roll, as well as lock onto enemies during combat to make every duel feel as authentic as possible. On top of this, by simply holding down a trigger, players can deflect and block with their lightsabers. This will protect them against the most basic of attacks but it does come with a maximum number of usages before being broken (although more about blocking will be mentioned soon when we get to parrying). As a final brief mention, players can heal in the game by asking the little droid on Cal's back to fix him up. This healing ability has a limited number of uses and can be interrupted, meaning finding the right time to help yourself is of the highest priority.
The basics of the combat system in Fallen Order might make the fleeting eye think of it as a hack and slash game, however, it's when you peer just beneath the surface that it really comes to life. There are parry mechanics which can be activated by blocking at the moment a strike is about to hit, and these are tied to timing, similar to old school Assassin's Creed games where you press the button at the right moment and you can basically eliminate anyone attacking you. That said, it's worth mentioning that parrying a blow can only be done during a tight window, making errors and taken damage all the more commonplace. As well as simply parrying basic enemy swings, players can deflect blaster rounds fired at them by blocking as the shot is about to hit, sending it straight back at the shooter.
On top of this, there are two types of attack, a standard single attack and the more powerful heavy attack (which uses the Force to increase its power). To perform heavy attacks, players must have enough Force power available, which can be gained by attacking enemies or by being out of combat. Whilst these attacks can break enemy blocks and deal heaps of damage, they are slow to perform, leaving you open to attack yourself.